Mount Rainier – October 15, 2010 – Columbus Day weekend marked the final seasonal transition at Mount Rainier from summer operations to fall/winter operations throughout the park. Park staff began shutting down utility systems, boarding up windows, removing signs to avoid winter snow damage and general winterization in the outlying areas necessary before winter snows begin to blanket the park.
Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds closed for the season on October 11 along with the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, and White River and Longmire Wilderness Information Centers.
The road to Sunrise closed October 12 at the White River Campground wye to automobile traffic, however is still accessible to hikers and bicyclists. This is a great opportunity for hiking and biking enthusiasts to enjoy this beautiful area and the fall colors without having to compete with
automobiles. The White River Road will remain open to automobiles until October 30 (weather permitting).
Gateway businesses on the east side of the park in Greenwater, Enumclaw, Buckley, Clifdell, Naches Packwood, remain open and welcome visitors.
Park staff report that fall colors at Chinook Pass, Stevens Canyon, Grove of the Patriarchs and many other popular areas on the east side are at their peak making this a great time to come, with a favorable weekend weather forecast.
The Stevens Canyon Road will remain open until closed by weather.
On the west side of the park the Paradise Inn has closed for the season and the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center has transitioned to its weekends and holiday schedule. Visitor center hours are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The National Park Inn and General Store at Longmire are open year round offering overnight accommodations, dining and gifts. The Longmire Museum is also open daily providing visitor information, exhibits, and book sales.
The road from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire remains open throughout the winter, except during extreme weather. The Longmire to Paradise Road will close nightly beginning November 1, reopening each morning after conditions have been assessed and snow removal is complete.
Even though the park is transitioning into its winter mode, many opportunities still exist for visitors to enjoy smaller crowds, great recreation opportunities and beautiful fall colors before the snows of winter arrive.
For information on the Mt. Rainier area, please check visitrainier.com.
Photo Credit: HikingQueen